Ready to drink… It makes you cringe a bit, doesn’t it? Memories of Bacardi Breezers in lurid tones and tropical flavours flash through your mind’s eye… But things have changed. RTDs are now Ready to Deliver, and are Really Thoroughly Different.
What’s being bottled now are drinks that are sophisticated and premium, targetting the consumer who is well-educated in the drinks arena. The ingredients being used are high-quality and their story is being told; provenance and sustainability are key factors in the making of these drinks. For example, the tea used in Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Ice Tea is all from the one tea plantation in Kenya.
These drinks are also letting consumers know that they are healthier than previous RTDs. Some are incredibly low calorie, and low sugar, a far cry from RTDs of previous generations. Many have adopted an all-natural approach, with no artificial ingredients, and have limited processing. Cranes is one such example with their range of cranberry drinks, where the alcohol comes from using brewed crushed cranberries only.
What is the appeal of an RTD? Sometimes, depending on the venue, a full-bar setup is not an option, but you want to give the consumer variety, and that’s where this new generation of RTDs step in. They offer the consumer something as convenient as a can of beer, but offer choice, innovation and interesting flavour combinations. Take Wild Elderflower Spritz, which is a gorgeous combination of elderflower, perry and gin. And sometimes, even if you have a fully stocked bar, a drink that is just perfect and consistent every time your pour it out, is a thing of beauty. It removes the variables such as the ability of the person behind the bar to mix a good drink, and it also means you can take your favourite drinks from your nights out, and enjoy them at home on a Sunday lunch as most RTDs are readily stocked in major supermarket chains.
So next time you’re ready to shun those three little letters, RTD, know that they are changing and are delivering on the most important front: the taste.
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